You Don't Donate to Your Family
Now, about titles and making money from things the right way and the wrong way. In an organic way, it’s sort of like the difference between an orphanage and a family. Is “orphanage” a word that makes sense here? Yes? Okay. In an orphanage, you donate to the orphanage to supply the needs for the orphans. Is that what you do in your family with your children? Never! Are you donating to your children? No, they’re part of you! You just do what you do because you love them and they’re part of you. You don’t keep a record of it. There’s no ledger of your donations. You simply love them and they’re part of you, and they have as much right to your finances as you do.
Now, they may not have the wisdom that you do as to how to allocate those resources and that money, so you might still provide guidance. They’re not just going to take the money and do whatever they want with it. But you’re not keeping track as if it were an orphanage. They’re just part of you. Now, let’s say someone has the gift of teacher. “Let everyone who receives instruction in the Word share all good things with his teacher” (Galatians 6:6). When the Body of Christ is functioning properly, you don’t need a salary any more than your children need a donation.
God’s people will just meet your needs because you’re bearing the fruit of Jesus. They will meet your needs. And if they don’t, what did Paul say in Philippians 4? He said, “You guys met my needs again and again. When I was at Thessalonica you met my needs. And then there was a long period of time where nobody met my needs, and I worked with my hands. Then you renewed your love to me and met my needs again.” He said, “I don’t really care about all that, because what I really care about is what your relationship with God is, not whether my needs are met. I can live with or without that. If I have to make tents, I will. I’m going to give, whether it’s under compulsion or by reward.”
And again, in 1 Corinthians 9, “I don’t care. I’m going to do it because God constrains me. I will do this, whether you meet my needs or not. If you want to share good things with your teacher that’s fine. I don’t care. I’m not even going to point that scripture out to you. I’m not even going to let you know that scripture is in there. You find that scripture on your own, because I will never let you know that you are supposed to support me! I will simply love Jesus and love you. And the spirit of God within will well up and He will meet the needs of everybody whose needs need to be met.” And that way God can raise up or sit down whoever He pleases whenever He pleases.
Let’s say God’s people were sort of slipping you a little bit here and there and pretty soon you didn’t have to get a job anymore. You could spend more time, as in Acts 6, devoted to prayer and service with the Word, instead of waiting on tables. Hallelujah. But let’s say you started living selfishly and pridefully and started lording it over God’s flock, and now people aren’t slipping envelopes under your door anymore. Or people aren’t buying food and dropping it off for you anymore, because they sense that your life doesn’t belong to Jesus the way it used to. You’re not blossoming and bearing the fruit and the anointing of God anymore. Now you’re just pushing words at them and talking about doctrines, but your life isn’t like Jesus anymore. So they start giving their money to other people who ARE edifying them, building them up and helping them raise their family. Good! Go get a job and repent!
God will raise up or sit down whomever He wants to that way. He can raise up more and more brothers who are manifesting His glory and teaching, and who are manifesting His wisdom, life, and revelation. He can raise up more and more people as others are inspired to help them so they don’t have to wait on tables anymore. “Fred, we don’t want you spending your time waiting on tables anymore. You’re too valuable to the cause of Jesus. We need you to go over to Shanghai and Beijing and spend six months over there with some Believers, so you’re gonna have to quit your job. If you’ll please do that, we’ll make sure all your bills are paid, and all your needs are met while you’re gone.”
And when he comes back, the anointing of God is on him, so they keep on paying his bills and meeting his needs. But then he starts getting a little lazy and prideful and starts lording it over God’s heritage. No one talks about it, but people are gradually not led by the Spirit to meet his needs anymore. All of the sudden he’s got bills to pay and he has to go get a job. He’s not going to beg for people to pay him a salary. That’s not Biblical. We proclaim Jesus under constraint whether with reward or without reward. It’s irrelevant. And like Paul, if our needs are met, Hallelujah for the people who gave, but not for us. It’s good for them. And if they don’t give, then we’ll make tents for a while. We’ll just do what we have to do because this is about Jesus. It’s not about me.
So…it’s very Biblical to give of your resources and even to give sacrificially. It’s very, very Biblical that the ox not be muzzled, and that brothers are free to not wait on tables and to be devoted instead to prayer and service with the Word. That’s very Biblical. What’s NOT Biblical is that I tell everybody that they’re supposed to give me or someone else money. Or I control the treasury, so I take what I want out of it because I’m the “pastor” and I get to decide.
In twenty years, I’ve never touched the money in Indianapolis. I have nothing to do with the money in Indianapolis. I never wanted to. There are other brothers through whom the money comes, and they distribute it to whatever was written on the envelope that someone wanted the money to be for. Other brothers take care of that. I don’t want anything to do with it. That’s not my business, and I’m sure not going to pay myself for God’s work out of God’s money and no one else has that right either. God’s people ought to decide by the leading of the Spirit who and how God’s people are supported. Jesus is Head. Jesus decides it.
We’re not heads just because we know the Bible better than some other people do. That doesn’t make us the head. Jesus is still the Head, and He’s the Head of all of His people, and we have to trust. And twenty years later, I can say this with great authority, great confidence and great joy, that Jesus is Trustworthy, and that I don’t have to make my own way. If I simply love Him, whether under compulsion or by reward, it matters not. If I just trust Him and I’m a Christian, and I do what I have to do, Jesus will take care of it the way He wants to take care of it. Let me go back eighteen, twenty years again. How many times, Scott, have you ever heard me or anybody else say, “Give! Give! Give! Give!”? How many “sermons” have you ever heard on “giving” in eighteen or twenty years?
Zero! We’ve never discussed it. There are no people with salaries. There are no automatic anythings. And we never talk about “giving.” Not that you couldn’t. Paul talked about it some. Jesus talked about it some. But the fact is that if everyone is in love with Jesus, they’re going to let go of their resources because their treasure is in heaven. If you teach people to put their treasure in heaven, that will solve all the treasure-on-earth problems automatically. But if you “address” it, and you keep beating on them about laying up treasure on earth, they’ll only resent you. They’ll be fleeced sheep. They’ll be in bondage and then they’ll go someplace else because they don’t want the burden and the weight of being told that somebody else is their head, not Jesus.
If you help them fall in love with Jesus, the resources are almost like the loaves and the fishes. We don’t have any wealthy people in the Church that I’m a part of. None. And yet somehow, someway, the loaves and the fishes just keep coming and coming and coming. That is God’s plan. It’s in His Grace. It’s by Faith, “lest any man boast.” God wants no boasters. He’ll share His glory with no man. We need to decrease so that He can increase.